Tuesday, March 11, 2008

In the news

Interesting news this morning.

It would be tempting to comment on NY Governor Spitzer's peccadilloes first, but I'll wait on that for a bit.

The article that really got to me this morning was this:

New crop of chemicals is found in birds' eggs

Eggs from an array of Maine birds - from lordly bald eagles to timorous piping plovers; from swallows snarfing insects in suburban backyards to storm-petrels feeding hundreds of miles at sea - contain 100 industrial and household contaminants, scientists will report today.

According to research to be presented to the Maine Legislature, all 60 eggs tested by biologists and chemists - taken from 23 wild species, inhabiting every major ecosystem in the state, from Kittery to Calais - carried at least trace amounts of the 100 chemicals, occasionally at levels believed to be harmful to the birds.

"We found mercury, flame-retardants, industrial repellents, transformer coolants, and pesticides in [the eggs of] birds that live on Maine's oceans, salt marshes, rivers, lakes, and uplands," said Wing Goodale, senior biologist with the BioDiversity Research Institute in Gorham, the center for environmental science that carried
out the research.

What's scary is that it's not only birds that have these chemicals inside them. People do, too. I'm certain that this chemical burden in our bodies contributes to the increased incidence of breast cancer, and probably other cancers as well. This just makes me sad. I'm not sure how we can clean up the environment so these chemicals won't pose a danger to people anymore. It seems like an impossible task.

So... moving on to the Governor... I must admit, I don't see why it's such a big big deal. Like many other men, he was with a prostitute. Yes, it's not legal. Yes, apparently he is supposed to be a big time ethical guy. Yes, and of course, he has a wife, daughters, etc. Yes, apparently everyone who knows him is "surprised." But: is it really a career-ending event? I wouldn't be surprised if his wife is completely pissed off. He should be embarrassed. But how does this affect his ability to be an effective leader? Maybe I'm naive. I think this behavior is extremely common. Why is it such a big deal???

I think the story about the birds and the environment is much more important. But that's just me.

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